Following a scan on the injury to his knee sustained in this weekend’s Premier League draw with Chelsea, Steven Gerrard has been cleared (via the Guardian) to play for England in Wednesday’s friendly against Sweden.
Which would in turn see Gerrard clear 100 England caps, only the sixth ever player to do so, and as England captain too.
What an achievement.
Let’s take a look back on Steven Gerrard’s top 10 moments with his country so far.
It all started on May 31, 2000, when Steven Gerrard finished just his first full season in the Liverpool first team.
Then-England coach Kevin Keegan saw enough encouraging signs of a midfield powerhouse and saw fit to hand Gerrard his first cap in a friendly match against Ukraine that England prevailed 2-0.
It was a day after his 20th birthday.
September 1, 2001.
To this day England’s five-star rout of Germany in a World Cup 2002 qualifier is still fondly remembered and recalled.
On a night where all of England’s goal scorers were Liverpool players—Michael Owen hit a hat-trick and Emile Heskey produced a neat finish—Steven Gerrard scored the pick of the lot with his first goal for his country.
Carsten Jancker had opened the scoring first, but there was no denying Gerrard his moment of personal glory as he fired in from 20 yards to put England 2-1 ahead.
Following a few years in which he shook off his injury troubles to establish himself in the heart of Gerard Houllier’s Liverpool side and earned the permanent captain’s armband at Anfield, Gerrard’s next great moment came in 2004.
March 31, 2004, against Sweden, to be exact.
Unfortunately, Gerrard’s first game as England captain didn’t go so well, as Sven Goran Eriksson’s side lost 1-0 to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal.
Having missed out on the 2002 World Cup due to a groin injury, Gerrard made it to his first ever World Cup finals in 2006.
With two goals in the group stages—a world-class left-footed strike against Trinidad and Tobago, and a last-gasp headed winner against Sweden—he finished as England’s top scorer in the tournament.
One of Fabio Capello’s finest wins as England manager, England thrashed Croatia 5-1 on September 9, 2009, in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley.
For the England team, this was a revenge of sorts as Croatia had previously dumped England out of Euro 2008, but this was, by all accounts, an emphatic win.
Frank Lampard scored a brace and Wayne Rooney added another, but England fans were treated to the rare sight of two Steven Gerrard headers as the Three Lions ran out comfortable winners.
A tale of twists and turns involving John Terry’s off-field scandals and Rio Ferdinand’s injury troubles led to Steven Gerrard being England skipper for their 2010 World Cup campaign.
While it was anything but a memorable World Cup for England as they exited the tournament in the round of 16 against Germany, Gerrard was one of the few players who emerged with any credit from the tournament.
He tried to pick England up by the scruff of the neck, as evidenced by his opening goal against the USA in their first group game.
In the grand scheme of things, the August 11 friendly against Hungary at Wembley wasn’t an important fixture by any stretch of the imagination.
But that it came just weeks after England’s disappointing 2010 World Cup campaign made it all the more vital that they got the fans back on their side.
Trailing 1-0, their stand-in captain turned up with two goals to win it for his side, and what goals they were.
The first was a typical Gerrard long-range screamer, and the second showcased his technical ability as he bamboozled the Hungary defence en route to goal.
On May 16, 2012, having filled in as skipper on many occasions previously, Steven Gerrard was finally named as the permanent England captain by Roy Hodgson.
After years of being behind John Terry in the pecking order and curiously losing the honor to Scott Parker under caretaker Stuart Pearce, Gerrard finally stepped into the role he fulfills at club level with Liverpool aged 32.
What followed was an inspirational Euro 2012 campaign for Gerrard, as he captained the side towards a quarterfinal exit against Italy.
In three group games, he provided three assists and was named man of the match in two of them, ending the tournament as England’s only representative in UEFA’s official Team of the Tournament.
Proof that, after having been written off due to his apparently ageing legs and recurring injury troubles, that Gerrard still goes strong at 32.
Twelve years after his England debut against Ukraine, Steven Gerrard is about to pick up his 100th cap against Sweden on Wednesday November 14, 2012.
Currently on 99 caps, he has notched 19 goals for England so far in a period that will be remembered more for disappointment rather than the achievements of the so-called “Golden Generation.”
But Wednesday will be a time to celebrate one of England’s greatest-ever talents.
And who knows—maybe he’ll score one of his trademark strikes to bring that tally up to 20 goals in 100 caps.
Also check out: Suarez’s 10 Greatest Liverpool Moments